Skip to main content

Full text of "Virginia Wildlife"

See other formats


s .-:^:i 


iMflHHBHBlBmMliisill wdl 


fi^^^^^^^^^BBmS^i 



k«. 






*^-^ 



■/ 






«^ ....•-.-.•.,•■■ 






^^:i 



//^ 



it Song 




OCTOBE 



^ 



^^K- 




^* ■'% 



) 

V 



2011 CONTENTS 




10 



More Tlian a Memory 

by C.larke ( .. Jones 
Reseai'chers haxc lold us wlial iiccils In he 
done, aiid rural landowners are k('\ li > 1 1 ir 
l)()l)\\ liilcs rccoNciT. 



Tales Fi'oiii the Swans Cut 
l)\ ( Jiarlic Pclrocci 
This Eastern Shore ci'eck w ilh ;in uniiMial 
name is ricli in holh culliiial liislorN and 
recreational opporl unities. 






14 



18 



lAaeeooiis, llabies, and More 

by Marie Majarov 

W hile enjoxinj; \()uroutd()oi'|)Ui'suits. he 
niindrul oliisks ineludinyiuiiinals thai 
mavearr\ ral)ies. 



Where No ( )llier lioal W ill Go 
by Tee Clarkson 

A new generation of hunters is taking a f liferent 
tack in their f|uest for waterfowl. 



OO Al 1 he lleat-l oIN ii'i^iiiia Naturally 
by (jail lirow ii 

Dedicated teachers and staff explain, in liicii' 
words. win this (Mnii'onmental educaliun 
program lias h( ■en si > ^u(■(•('^^^u I. 



'^ /" M\ Fishing lor lleeoveiy 

In King Montgomery^ 

Few |>r(>grams can match I lie dedication of 
Project lleiiling Waters to our militiu'x \cteraiis. 



28 AFIELD AND AFLOAT 



30 Wliilelail Riology • 32 Off the Leash • 33 Photo fips • 34 Dining T 



I) 



ABOUT Tlli; COVTR: "We iicxcf icalK ..wn :i iImi^.is innclias I u ns us." <,..,„■ 11,11 

Sl()i-\ oil |ia-i- IS. ' l'",ric lliillicrluiil 



m 


k 


RE^ 


-d 


P#nM 


r 


.^li/Mi^H 







BOB DUNCAN 
Executive Director 




www.wsfr75.com 




This months issue of Virginia Wildlife covers a number of top- 
ics of great interest to me personally. While I grew up in 
Southwest Virginia, an area not known for its bobwhite quail pop- 
ulation, I had the opportunity during my college days to work on a 
quail project in West Tennessee at the fabled Ames Plantation, 
which plays host to the national bird dog field trials. Hobart Ames 
left: the 18,400-acre working plantation to the University of Ten- 
nessee with the caveat that they maintain the bobwhite popula- 
tions in the area. As an undergraduate student, I assisted others 
with population surveys and can recall that quail numbers there 
were the highest that this old mountain boy had ever seen. 

I have since hunted many other areas in the deep South and 
yet nothing ever compared to the quail numbers at Ames during 
the late 1960s and early '70s. Unfortunately, quail numbers de- 
clined — along with much of their preferred habitat — during the 
ensuing decades, leading us to todays restoration efforts and a na- 
tional conservation initiative directed at Mr. Bob's entire range. 
Read fiirther inside about our collective efforts to boost quail num- 
bers to former, robust levels. 

Maintaining healthy wildlife species continues to be a subject 
of great importance to all of us, and that is why we should take spe- 
cial note of related diseases — whether it is a relatively new disease 
like chronic wasting disease or white-nose syndrome, or one of the 
oldest, rabies. This month's issue contains a feature about rabies 
and raccoons. It serves as an important reminder that we do in fact 
have several species of wildlife — including skunks, raccoons, foxes, 
and bats — that are at high risk for rabies. 

Also in this issue you will find part one of a series on deer biol- 
ogy, with particular focus on the upcoming season. I have been ac- 
cused of being a frustrated deer biologist for the past 37 years of my 
wildlife career, and I confess to being a lifelong student of white- 
tails. I have greatly enjoyed restoring, managing, and hunting these 
magnificent game animals! Just remember that October is the 
month of the hunter's moon, which means that gun deer season 
will soon follow. 

Finally, I recommend the essay on Project Healing Waters to 
you, as this program to help disabled veterans is making a real dif- 
ference in the lives of our service men and women who have suf- 
fered debilitating injuries while defending our freedoms. My 
sincere thanks to all of our veterans and to the volunteers who are 
contributing to the success of this initiative as well as others like the 
Wounded Warrior Project. 

Enjoy this wonderful time of the year and, wherever your out- 
door adventures cake you, make safety your number one priorit)'. 



MISSION STATEMENT 

To manage Virginia's wildlife and inland fish to maintain optimum populations of all species to serve the needs of the Commonwealth; To 
provide opportunity for all to enjoy wildlife, inland fish, boating and related outdoor recreation and to work diligently to safeguard the rights 
of the people to hunt, fish and harvest game as provided for in the Cxmstitution of Virginia; To promote safety for persons and property in 
connection with boating, hunting and fishing; To provide educational outreach programs and materials that foster an awareness of and appre- 
ciation for Virginias fish and wildlife resources, their habitats, and hunting, fisliing, and boating opportunities. 

Dedicated to the Conservation of Virginia's Wildlife and Natural Resources 



VOLUMH 72 



NUMBER 10 



COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA 
Bob McDonnell, Governor 

HUNTING & FISHING 
LICENSE FEES 

Subsidized this publication 

SECRETARY' OF NATURAL RESOURCES 
Douglas W. Domenech 

DEPARTMENT OF GAME AND 

INLAND FLSHERIES 

Bob Duncan 

Executive Director 

MEMBERS OF THE BOARD 

Lisa Caruso, Church Road 
J. Brent Clarke, III, Great Falls 
Curtis D. Colgate, Virginia Beach 
James W. Hazel, Oakton 
Randy J. Kozuch, Alexandria 
Mary Louisa Pollard, Irvington 
F. Scott Reed, Jr., Manakin-Sabot 
Leon O. Turner, Fincastle 
Charles S. Yates, Cleveland 

MAGAZINE STAFF 

Sally Mills, Editor 

Lee Walker, Ron Messina, Julia Dixon, 

Contributing Editors 
Emily Pels, Art Director 
Carol Kushlak, Production Manager 
Matt Knox, Staff Contributor 

Printing by Progress Printing, Lynchburg, VA. 

Virginia Wildlife (ISSN 0042 6792) is published monthly 
by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. 
Send all subscription orders and addre,ss changes to Virginia 
WildMfe, P. O. Box 830, Boone, Iowa 500.36. Address all 
other communications concerning this publication to Vir- 
ginia Wildlife, P. O. Box 1 1 104, 4010 West Broad Street, 
Richmond, Virginia 23230-1104. Subscription rates are I 
$12.95 for one year, $23.95 for two years; $4.00 per each 
back issue, subject to availability. Out-of-country rate is 
$24.95 for one year and must be paid in U.S. funds. No re- 
funds for amounts less than $5.00. To subscribe, call toll 
free (800) 710-9369. POSTMASTER; Please send .il 
address changes to Virginia Wildlife, PO. Box 830, Boont, 
Iowa 50036. Postage for periodicals paid at Richmond, Vir- 
ginia and additional entn,' offices. 

Copyright 201 1 by the Virginia Department of Game and 
Inland Fisheries. All rights reserved. 

The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries shall afford I 
to all persons an equal access to Department programs and I 
facilities without regard to race, color, religion, national ori- 1 
gin, disability, sex, or age. If you believe that you h.-ive been [ 
discriminated against in any program, activity or tacliity, f 
please write to: Virginia Department of Game and Inland I 
Fisheries, ATTN; Compliance Officer, (4010 \X'c.si Broad | 
Street.) R O. Box 1 1 104, Richmond, Virginia 23230-1 104. 

This publication is intended for general informational pur- 1 
poses only and every effort has been made to ensure its ac- 
curacy. Tlic Information contained herein does not serve as I 
a legal representation offish and wildlife laws or regulations. 
The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries does I 
not assume responsibility for any change in dates, rcgula 
lions, or information that may occur after publication. 



^3 

FSC 



MIX 

Paper from 
responsible sources 

FSC* C005991 



l» 



'.ftf. 



'Wi-:; 



Mote Thaiia 



^vf 



«\ » 



7i 



*-7 » 



^ 



iN 



IV 



V- 



X*i 



I 



ii 



^V- 









•J^ 



iU<i 



^^ 



^ 'f 



o> 



\ > J % 



4 



*«.* 



•"•"•^i 



i1k«: ^<;<«'.i : 



>▼ > 



V- 



>^ 



/^! 



f 



^ 



% 




>wl-1dblowski Photo 



L^ 



by Clarke C.Jones 

The aroma of grandmother's home- 
made rolls slipped through her 
kitchen window and onto the 
screened-in back porch. As I sat on the glider 
watching the big wooden paddles of the ceil- 
ing fan tr}' to cool an August sunset, I could 
hear the clinking of a spoon, emptying out a 
jar of her homemade strawberry preserves. 

"What's on the menu tonight?" my 
grandfather inquired. 

"Hot rolls, dripping with butter and 
strawberry preser\'es, sliced tomatoes, ham, 
mashed potatoes, tea, and chocolate cake 
with white icing — and nothing green," I de- 
clared, feeling very important. One of the 
great things about spending the night with 
my grandparents was that I got to pick what 
we would eat for supper. 

"Do you mind if we eat 'alfresco' 
tonight? Wc have some great entertainment 
planned for your visit," said my grandfather. 

He was alwavs throwing words like "al- 
fresco" at me, but a( len years old, 1 thought I 
was already grown up and didn't want him to 



know that I didn't know what the word 
meant. Besides, 1 knew I could ask my grand- 
mother later. 

"What entertainment?" I questioned. 
"Tliere's no entertainment in Midlothian!" 
Midlothian at that time was a patchwork of 
homes, small gardens, and weedy fields of 
broom straw and beggar lice, dirt or tar-and- 
gravel roads. Midlothian Turnpike, near 
where I lived, was still two lanes and the clos- 
est entertainment was a drive-in theater nine 
miles away. It would be a few years before I 
even heard the word "subdivision. " 

"Ah, my young skeptic, you are wrong 
about that," corrected my grandfather. "Mr. 
Bobby White, the master of ceremonies, 
should be starting the show any time now. 
He will be announcing that it's time for the 
rest of the birds to start their evening songs, 
and then the crickets and cicadas will join in. 
Ihe grand finale is the light show put on bv 
the lightning btigs — first-class entertainment 
for the price, if you ask me." 

Later that night as I was just about ready 
to turn off the bedroom light, niv grandfather 
came into my room to check on me. "What 
ditl you think of tonight's show?" he asked. 



"Pretty good, " I replied. "Does the bob- 
white really start things off every evening?" 

"In a manner of speaking," answered my 
grandfather. "What he is really doing is CiJl- 
ing his family, telling them it's time to gather 
'round for the night." 

"Like dad — when he comes home from 
work and announces 'Hello, I'm home!'," I 
agreed. 

"Sort of like that," said my grandfather. 
"He is telling his covey, 'Hello, I'm home', 
but I don't hear him as often as I used to. I 
think maybe he might be telling you and me 
good-bye." 

Two years later the quail and the grand- 
parents had all said good-bye and, about that 
same time, biologists and quail hunters start- 
ed working on ways to halt the decline of the 
quail population, not only in Virginia but 
throughout the South and Midwest. For the 
next fifty years, various ideas, studies, and ini- 
tiatives were developed to bring back quail, 
and yet the quail population still dropped 
steadilv. Some folks eventually began to real- 
ize that if you keep doing what you have al- 
ways done, and the results still come up 
negative, then perhaps a change is in order. 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFisfiVA.com 




Shane Wellendorf, who gave me a tour of the 
taciliry. I arrived there during the last week of 
banding season, when a half-dozen scientists 
were banding and attaching transmitters to 
the quail. The weight, age, and sex of each 
bird was recorded before returning it to the 
exact location where it was captured the night 
before. 

Wellendorf and I drove through some of 
the 1 1 5,000 acres under easement in what is 
known as the Greater Red Hills Region. As 
we rode along, Shane pointed out some of the 
complexities of quail restoration. 

"Think of the quail as a 6- to 8-ounce 
turkey that is at the bottom of the food chain. 
Just about every predator that walks, crawls, 
or flies wants to eat it. The quail would rather 
walk than fly, and it cannot move well 
through thick grass, like fescue. It needs cover 
to protect it from avian predators, plants that 
attract bugs in the spring to give the chicks 
i much-needed protein, and plants that pro- 
duce seeds in the fall and winter to carry it 
• ® through those lean months." 

The Red Hills area of Georgia, according 

to Shane, is comprised of over 350,000 acres 

On a trip to Tall Timbers Research Sta- learn what new ideas were in the works. Tall and is one of the last great bastions for the 

tion and Land Conservancy near Tallahassee, Timbers, according to their literature, is the bobwhite. A large number of private planta- 

Florida, in January, I was able to review some oldest and largest bobwhite research program tions are linked together in the area and have 

of the current quail studies firsthand and in the coimtry. I met with game biologist been for decades. "We now know that quail 

will not make it very long on small amounts 
of acreage. You need at least 500 acres to 
maintain a sustainable covey population. The 
exception is if you can get a number of small- 
er, adjoining landowners to put in quail 
restoration programs, then you have a chance 
to improve the quail population," stated 
Wellendorf 

I told Shane that Marc Puckett, a small 
game biologist with the Virginia Department 
of Game and Inland Fisheries, was working 
on a program in Virginia similar to what he 
just described. "We know Marc and his work 
in Virginia," Shane replied, adding, "He is a 
well-respected biologist." 

Upon my return, I called Marc and 
asked him how the new quail restoration plan 
in Virginia was progressing. Marc suggested I 
speak with some people who have been in- 
volved in the program for a few years now: 
Phil Bain in Southampton County and Den- 
Top, a quail hen incubates her eggs. Bottom, land management at Tall Timbers focuses on nis Owens, who has a farm just outside of 
creating prime quail habitat. Blackstone. 




OCTOBER 2011 ♦ 



Help Us Keep 
Quail Songs Alive! 

If you own rural land and think your 
property nnight be suitable habitat for 
the bobwhite, contact one of the 
offices nearest you: 

Smithfield: (757) 357-7004, ext. 126 
Fredericksburg: (540) 899-9492, 

ext. 101 
Farmville: (434) 392-4171, ext. 106 
Verona: (540) 248-6218, ext. 108 
Christiansburg: (540) 381-4221, 

ext. 128 
Project Leader, Marc Puckett: 

(434) 392-8328 

A member of our team will discuss 
your property with you and determine 
that it is a good fit for the quail recov- 
ery program. We are currently concen- 
trating our efforts in the counties of 
Bland, Wythe, Augusta, Halifax, 
Greene, Madison, Rappahannock, 
Culpeper, Orange, Essex, King & 
Queen, King William, Greensville, 
Sussex, and Southampton. 

What's in it for you? 

♦ On-site visits from a quail biologist 

♦ Financial assistance for habitat 
improvement 

♦ A management packet, including a 
DVD and quail booklet 

♦ A certificate suitable for framing 

♦ Attractive property signs 

And finally, what you can't put a price- 
tag on: the satisfaction of helping in 
the statewide effort to keep quail 
songs alive. 




For anyone interested in improving 
habitat for quail, this video offers plenty 
of food for thought and resources to help 
you do so. Free. Contact Marc Puckett at 
marc, puckett (5)dgif.virginia. gov. 




Here, a scientist bands a bobwhite. Below, a young chick symbolizes the success of 
Tall Timbers research efforts. 



Phil Bain manages approximately 9,000 
acres of timber and farmland for his family. 
He began working with Marc Puckett in the 
early 1990s. "When we first started, we put 
only a small amount of our land in quail habi- 
tat, and I have had to learn the hard way that 
to get any significant results, I needed to put a 
lot more land in habitat production. I realize 
not everyone has large tracts of land, but if 
they can do something on their land and their 
adjoining neighbor has good habitat, then 
they can feed off that situation," stated Phil. 

"I would encourage people — from the 



start — to utilize as many acres as you can, and 
from the beginning you need to realize the 
importance of burning your fields or other 
proposed quail habitat. We are on a three-year 
rotation for controlled burns in our pine 
stands. One thing that a fire does is help pro- 
mote warm-season grasses, which are another 
part of the equation in restoring quail," con- 
tinued Bain. 

He also pointed out that warm-season 
grasses are what help quail survive by giving 
them nesting cover and seeds to eat in the fall, 
and that these grasses also attract bugs in the 





The ultimate goal, as shown here, is to 
return banded quail back to their natural 
habitat and behaviors (below). 

spring for the chicks to eat. Ihinning your 
pine forest also helps, but how much you thin 
will often depend on how the financial num- 
bers work for each individual. "Don't expect 
tremendous improvement in your quail pop- 
ulation the first year, but after the third year, 
the quail population should really ramp up. I 
would say that since I started with Marc's 
program, I now have three times as many 
quail on our property than before we started," 
Bain added. 

Landowner Dennis Owens has a 235- 
acre farm outside Blackstone and after work- 



ing with Marc Puckett for at least eight years 
is pleased with his quail restoration efforts, as 
well. "One of rhe nice things that has hap- 
pened after getting quail habitat established 
and having several coveys on my property is 
that my neighbors now have quail on their 
properries — and that is something that had 
not happened before. Some ot my neighbors 
have gotten on board with their own pro- 
grams. They are doing some tree removal, 
some burning, and planting lespedeza," ex- 
plained Dennis. 

Owens agreed about the need for con- 
trolled burns, as well, and suggested that you 
hire a contractor with liability insurance to 
do the burns and that you include yourself as 
a named insured. The reader has probably re- 
alized that the use of fire to kill fescue, un- 
wanted cool-season grasses, invasive trees, 
and to clean forest understory is an extremely 
important tool in bringing back quail. 

Bill Palmer, a Virginia Tech graduate in 
the 1980s, and now Senior Scientist and As- 
sociate Research Director at Tall Timbers, 
was quoted in the May 2005 issue o'^ Shoot- 
ing Sportsman magazine as saying that, 
"Quail populations begin to blink out after a 
two-year lapse in burning. If you go past 
three, you lose almost all the benefits. " 

Dennis Owens noted, "After about two 
years, I began to see some ol the results of my 
work. Based on the amount of property you 
have, there will be a leveling-out of the num- 
ber of coveys." An essential part of quail 
management is planting shrubs. "There are a 



number of shrubs that will work, but if you 
were only going to do one type of shrub, 1 
would plant VA-70 lespedeza," said Owens. 
He also pointed out that there are a number 
of cost-share programs available at this writ- 
ing and landowners should evaluate which 
program works best for them. 

Both Phil Bain and Dennis Owens have 
been pleased with the successes they have had 
with quail restoration but both point out that 
it is not a one-shot deal. It takes a long-term 
commitment to keep a quail population vi- 
able on your property. If you think quail 
restoration is a lot of work for a little bird, you 
are correct. But to bring back a species that 
has been in decline for over a half-century is 
going to take some work. Consider, however, 
that improving the environment for quail 
aids other species of songbirds and animals 
which prefer a similar habitat. So it is not just 
quail that you are assisting, and as my grand- 
father used to say, "Anything worth having is 
worth working for." ?f 

Clarke C. Jones is a freelance writer who spends his 
spare time with his black lab, Luke, hunting up good 
stories. You can read more by Clarke at his website, 
iininv. clarkecjones com. 

mwimmm mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmimmmmimm 

To learn more about quail restoration and 
management, visit these websites: 

• Getting Started with Virginia's Quail 
Action Plan: www.dgif.virginia.gov/quail/ 

• Tall Timbers: www.talltimbers.org 



©Maslowski Photo 





by Charlie Petrocci 

The Eastern Shore is dissected, bi- 
sected, and pulsated by dozens of 
small tidal creeks and streams, 
and even things called guts. Looking at an 
aerial shot you will see numerous waterways 
snaking into the landsoipe's interior, creating 
aquatic access routes along both the ba)' and 
the sea sides of this long, thin peninsula. 
ITiese tidal creeks carry the daily ebb and flow 
of the tide, which is the lifeblooci for a multi- 
tude of species, including humans. One of 
those tidal paths that has become important 
to both wildlife and people is located on the 
seaside oi the shore, only a few miles west of 
Chincoteague. It goes by the un-dignificd 
name of Swans Gut. 

Swans Gut C "reek is located on the main- 
land just below the Maryland-Virginia line 
and runs from Chincoteague Bay, under Vir- 
ginia Route 679, into Maryland, where it 



more or less dead ends at what is now known 
as Big Mill Pond dam. Tliis unassuming, slow 
moving creek meanders a whopping 6 miles 
through marshes wrapped by maritime 
forests and a few farms. A housing develop- 
ment encroaches on the shoreline at its 
mouth. The skinny, tidal waterway twists and 
turns, well as a gut should, thus living up to its 
uniqtie name. That being said, what it lacks in 
size and title it makes up for in biodiversity 
and sheer beauty. 

The creek is shallow, averaging only 2 
feet of depth during low tide, at best. There 
are holes and sandbars as well, so diis is defi- 
nitely the domain for canoes or kayaks. 
Drop-in sites are limited to the Route 679 
Bridge or down Route 712, just off the village 
of Sign Post. Addition;il boat access is provid- 
ed at the sprawling housing development 
called Captains Cove, located on its northern 
bank, lower end. But you must be a home- 
owner to use the ramp there. 



WATER SPORTS 

1 first began to explore Swans Gut by kayak 
back in the 1980s, to see what secrets this 
strangely named waterway held and to check 
out its sporting potential. My first trip was a 
kayak fishing expedition using a light tackle 
spinning rod as a probe. Launching from be- 
neath the Route 679 Bridge area, I caught 
white perch and small rockfish on the eastern 
side of the creek using small jigs and spoons. 
West of the bridge, in the fresher end of the 
creek, soft plastics and jigs took largemouth 
bass, crappie, and sunfish, all the way to the 
tangled growth area at the dam on the Mar)'- 
land end of the waterway. 

Swans Gut holds other catchable fish 
species, including hickory shad, catfish, and 
yellow perch. Fly fishing during a full moon, 
ebb tide on the lower end of the creek can be a 
great way to find stripers during the fall. 
Crabbing is also popular in Swans Gut, with 



10 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com 




Vestiges of the oyster boom of the late 20"" century that drove the economic machine 
of towns around Swans Gut still remain. Below, tundra swans often use the creek as a 
migration route. 



the bridge area the most popular spot from 
which to drop a trap or chicken neck. Because 
the creek is tidal, a Virginia saltwater fishing 
license allows you to fish both state waters. 

Ever since that first fishing trip, I realized 
this creek also had potential for waterfowl 
gunning. During many cold winter seasons, I 
ofi:en found myself paddling at pre-dawn, 
sometimes nudging the canoe through a thin 
lip of ice. The marsh-lined banks and concave 
coves of the creek were great places to set up 
an ambush. This was skinny water hunting at 
its best, so a canoe, some camo burlap for 
cover, a handful of decoys, along with a falling 
tide is all that was needed to enjoy some great 
gunning. Waterfowl here includes black 
ducks, widgeon, wood ducks, gadwalls, mal- 
lards, mergansers, buffleheads, and Canada 
geese. 

Though there is some low-key fishing 
action available and waterfowl hunting can 
sometimes be exciting, Swans Gut is by no 

(cont. on p. 13) 





OCTOBER 20 n ♦ 11 




11 



/-<" 



1^ 




The Name Game 

Since colonial times, the rivers and creeks of the East- 
ern Shore have served as important habitat for wildlife 
as well as early settlers. They were also navigable high- 
ways, as their waters carried the subsistence and 
trade that helped keep those settlers alive. Some 
chartered water courses were obviously more impor- 
tant than others. 

I first noted the name Swan's Gut on a copy of a 
colonial-era map while doing research in Williams- 
burg back in 1987. The map of the mid-Atlantic region 
byThomas Basset was created in 1676 and it ironically 
listed Swan's Gut among more prominent East Coast 
place names. It also appeared on a map of the late 
1680s. With my interest piqued, I later found Swan's 
Gut drawn on a map of America done in 1755 by a 
Robert de Vaugondy and, later, on a map of North 
America created by John Blair in 1770, which also in- 
cluded Boston, New York, Norfolk, and Charleston. 

Why in the world would little, obscure Swans Gut 
Creek be listed on maps going back centuries? (It 
sometimes also appears as Swan's Cut.) There had to 
be more to this story than just an unusual name. 

Part of the puzzle is solved by the location of the 
creek. Lying just south of Mosquito Point near Cockle 
Creek, colonial-era ships would enter Chincoteague 
Inlet and move up Cockle Creek, into Mosquito Creek 
(next to NASA Wallops), and then along a thin shore- 
line channel up to Swans Gut Creek. This route and the 
once-open, nearby Green Run Inlet on Assateague Is- 
land offered trade access for ocean ships bringing in 
supplies, because goods could be offloaded on the old 
colonial road (Route 679) and taken over land 10 miles 
to the Pocomoke River at Snow Hill, Maryland. There 
they would be loaded onto boats to be shipped south 
to the bay. 

Swans Gut was also used as a shortcut for sup- 
plies bound for the Chesapeake using this route dur- 
ing the American Revolution, when the British 
controlled the mouth of the bay. In those days. Swans 
Gut was deeper, navigable, and had two mills operat- 
ing on it as well. 

The word "gut" is an old name that is frequently 
used to identify tidally infused creeks and streams 
throughout the Atlantic coast. As the name implies, 
gut— such as that of an animal— is a long, twisting in- 
testine, shaped in theory like the long, twisting turns 
of Eastern Shore tidal creeks. Gut is also interpreted as 
a channel or a narrow defile. It can also be assumed 
that Swans Gut was so named because a large gather- 
ing of tundra swans may have been present when the 
first chart makers put the place on the map. And this 
makes sense, since the entrance to Swans Gut is from 
Chincoteague Bay— an important feeding area along 
the Atlantic Flyway. 

On the other hand, it's possible these early car- 
tographers confused snow geese with tundra swans. 
Regardless, you now know the rest of the story. 



An early 19th-century house in old Franklin City 
harkens back to a time when trains carried fish and oys- 
ters from area shucking houses, including Swans Gut. 



means a consumptive sportsmans recreation 
haven. But you can have a wonderful water 
experience without toting either gun or rod. 

Early spring and late fall are the best sea- 
sons to be paddling among the cordgrass and 
saltmeadow grass lining the shores, catching 
glimpses of egrets, herons, terns, ospreys, and 
bald eagles. The upland banks, lined with 
loblolly pines and various hardwoods, and 
flecked by a few groundsel bushes, play host 
to kingfishers, wood ducks, barred owls, war- 
blers, and other passerine species. Otters can 
often be seen in the upper end of the creek 
along with muskrats, while fox and raccoons 
hunt the banks and white-tailed deer come 
down to drink during the evenings. An 
evening paddle will also treat you to the 
sounds of wildlife such as owls, night hawks, 
herons, and late-flying ducks. 

HUMAN SUBSISTENCE 

Native American groups who seasonally uti- 
lized the creek included the Pocomokes and 
Chincoteagues, with village sites just south of 
Horntown, near Mosquito Creek and around 
Snow Hill. They used the area for hunting, 
fishing, and trapping until the colonial peri- 
od, when they were forced out by disease and 
by the deception of encroaching English set- 
tlers. 

In 1668 Virginia and Maryland officials 
contested the creek land ownership and drew 
a state boundary line that went from the 
Chesapeake to the ocean and cut Swans Gut 
in half. But it was a good cut for Virginia; the 
state actually gained thousands of acres from 
the previously proposed boundary. 

There are several small colonial-era vil- 
lages located within a few miles of Swans Gut 
that were of some historical significance 
many years ago. Horntown, once a large 
community, attracted shoppers and traders 
from Chincoteague who came over by boat. 
Another village is Sign Post, located just 
above Horntown, which back in the late 19th 
century was a busy crossroads community 
with shops, a church, and a tavern. Another 
community of note was Sinnickson, located 
near the mouth of Swans Gut, ofFRoute 712. 
It boasted stores, a restaurant, docks, a hotel, a 
swimming beach, and later, even an amuse- 
ment park and a movie theater at adjacent 
Red Hills. The small resort attracted thou- 
sands of people during the 1890s. Now there 
is nothing left but some rotted docks and a 
few old houses. And glaring across Swans Gut 




Seafood harvesting once supported a rail line to nearby Franklin City and a connecting ferry 
to Chincoteague Island. Today, a few crabbers still pull pots near the mouth of the creek. 
Below, a largemouth bass took a jig in the creek near the Route 679 bridge. 



is the huge community of Captains Cove, 
with its omnifarious potential for water pol- 
lution due to the sheer number of homes. 

Just a couple of miles away from the 
creek mouth are both the communities of 
Greenbackville and Franklin City. These sto- 
ried towns were economically bound to the 
bount)' of the coastal bays, as oysters, fish, 
and clams helped to build prosperity during 
the early 20th-century heydays. Ferries from 
Chincoteague and a direct train from Snow 
Hill connected oysters to buyers until the 
1933 hurricane and the Great Depression 
took its toll on those towns. The oyster houses 
around Swans Gut are now long gone. 

There is something to be said about fish- 
ing, hunting, or just paddling on small water- 
ways that share a human history as well. I 



think it adds cultural depth to the outdoor ex- 
perience. So if you are lucky to paddle the gut 
on a crisp late-fall morning and your canoe is 
pushing through slivers of ice just as daylight is 
creeping over the horizon of distant As- 
sateague Island, and black ducks and widgeon 
zoom by like missiles, adjust your eyes as the 
sun is greeted by thousands of snow geese ris- 
ing off to plunder distant fields. And as you 
close your eyes and listen to their guttural calls, 
you may also hear the distant boom of can- 
nons or muskets from ghost ships long since 
vanished. Swans Gut has left more than a mark 
on ancient maps to this brave new world. ?f 

Charlie Petrocci is a maritime heritage researcher, 
lecturer, and consultant who specializes in coastal 
tmditions such tis fisheries, seafood, and community 
fijlklife. He has lived on the Shore for 25 years. 




y 




^^^^^l|i^ 








f«*« 



«* 




indfulness in the Outdoors 



by Marie IVIajarov 



raditionally, bats have been con- 
sidered the major carriers of ra- 
bies. In actuality, say DGIF 
Jogists, "less than one-half of one per- 
cent of all bats" in Virginia are rabid. Cau- 
tion around bats is absolutely necessary, 
but as a good friend learned on a morning 
walk to his chicken coop with the family 
dog in tow, an unexpected encounter with 
a raccoon can present greater danger and 
consequence. 

.j^ "In Virginia, raccoons are by far the 
Bmals that are most frequently diag- 
pised with rabies," says State Public 
Balth Veterinarian Dr. Julia Murphy, an 
_ pthority on rabies with the Virginia De- 
partment of Health (VDH). Laboratory- 
confirmed cases of animal rabies in 
Virginia for 2010 included 315 raccoons, 
128 skunks, 60 foxes, and 19 bats — all of 
which are considered high risk species for 
rabies. More telling states Dr. Murphy is 
that, "Typically in Virginia, close to 50 

E;ent of aU raccoons tested are rabid, 
ch is indicative of how endemic rac- 
coon rabies is in Virginia and the East." 

The ensuing chase outside the chick- 
, en coop with our friend's dog and the stag- 
Ib'ing raccoon — later confirmed as 
ftld — fortunately did not result in fur 
^ft ng or major wounds (raccoons can be 
^ fierce fig^iters) , but with saliva contact a se- 
rious possibihty, it was traumatic 

In such cases, strict rules are enforced 
by VDH to insure that humans are pro- 



tected from this fatal disease. The dog, 
"Currie" for courageous, which he in- 
deed was in this frightening situation, 
was up-to-date on his rabies vaccinations 
but still required to have a 45-day con- 
finement period and a booster shot. An 
animal without an up-to-date vaccina- 
tion would face grim consequences, most 
likely euthanasia. 

The enforcement of pet vaccination, 
public education, and prompt prophy- 
lactic treatment for humans (now a series 
of 4-5 intramuscular injections, not the 
painful abdominal ones previously used) 
have dramatically reduced the incidence 
of human rabies in the U.S. An accom- 
pUshment unquestionably to be celebrat- 
ed, but not cause to become lax. There is 
stiU serious risk. "Write about this" my 
friend urged, "I didn't know or think 
much about rabies today," he said, 
adding, "People need to be aware!" 

Our friend's experience gives one 
much to consider: rabies, and most im- 
portantly, the necessity for knowledge 
and awareness of rabies and other wildlife 
diseases that can potentially affect hu- 
mans . . .what I would call "mindfulness" 
in the outdoors. 

Raccoons 

Raccoons (Procyon lotor), weighing 
10-25 lbs., are shaggy, grayish-brown, 
nocturnal mammals with black masks 



and ringed tails found throughout our 
commonwealth. Positively cute, raccoons 
are thought by many to be related to pan- 
das: Red Pandas native to Nepal, Myan- 
mar, and China. They also play an 
important role in our environment by 
helping control certain animal and plant 
populations: A raccoon may eat an entire 
wasp nest including larvae, or the berries 
of a poison ivy plant. 

Carnivores with eclectic food habits, 
raccoons need to develop thick layers of fat 
for winter warmth when they layup in 
dens torpid, but not hibernating. Carrion, 
crayfish, grasshoppers, com, worms, bee- 
des, nuts, mice, bird eggs, snakes, tiutle 
e^s, berries, garden veggies, and soybeans 
are a sampling of their favorite treats. Rac- 
coons breed in late winter with hghdy- 
fiirred babies arriving in April and May. 
Survival in the wild can last as long as 16 
years, but averages 2 to 5 years. Bobcats, 
coyotes, foxes, and great homed owls are 
their natural predators. 

Housing choices for these superb run- 
ners, climbers, and swimmers are hollow 
trees, branches, rock crevices in close prox- 
imity to water, or occasionally ground 
dens, but raccoons will gladly move into 
attics, bams, and crawl spaces if an oppor- 
tunity presents. Nimble toes make open- 
ing doors, manipulating latches, and 
raiding garble cans simple. Raccoons 
will even commute many miles via storm 
sewers to dine at restaurant dumpsters. 



OCTOBER 20n ♦ 



"*.^H^. 



DGIF's Furbearer Project Leader, Mike 
Pies, describes Virginias raccoon populations 
as "slowly increasing, particularly in urban 
areas." Regular surveys of hunter harvest, 
bowhunter wildlife observations, and rural 
mail carriers observing dead wildlife, all pro- 
vide essential data to monitor and manage 
raccoon population trends. Another impor- 
tant effort is underway by the USDA, 
through a cooperative project with VDH and 
CDC and the support of DGIF to use air- 
dropped baits containing oral rabies vaccine 
to attempt to prevent the westward spread of 
the disease. 

Unlike other species threatened by de- 
velopment and habitat fragmentation, rac- 
coons thrive, adapting comfortably to life in 
cities, suburbs, and rural communities. This 
creates the potential for frequent encounters 
between humans, their pets, and rabies. 



Rabies 

Rabies is an incurable infection that attacks 
the brain and nervous system, leading to 
death. Caused by a virus found in the saliva 
and brains of rabid animals, it is transmitted 
via a bite or any contact with saliva to the eyes, 
nose, mouth, or open wound. Incubation of 
the disease can take weeks to months; thus, 
the necessity of strict regulations enforced by 
VDH. 

Wildlife Veterinarian Belinda Burwell of 
the Blue Ridge Wildlife Center (BRWC) in 
Clarke County and Virginia Master Natural- 
ist educator, explains that rabies occurs in two 
forms: "dumb" and "furious." Purious rabies 
is "the type often described in books and 
movies where the animal becomes overly ag- 
gressive, biting at everything in sight." Dumb 
rabies is actually more common and marked 



by an animal "becoming very quiet and not 
showing a normal fear of humans. These ani- 
mals do not behave normally: They may walk 
in circles; appear to be blind; and sometimes 
drool because of an inability to swallow. 
Rabid animals are usually unsteady on their 
feet and often wobble or stagger as they walk." 

Not all animals that are quiet or stagger 
are rabid. Other issues, like distemper, may be 
responsible. Nor are all nocturnal animals 
seen in daylight rabid; they could be foraging 
for food to feed hungry youngsters. However, 
Dr. Murphy is adamant that people not make 
these determinations themselves. A profes- 
sional should always be consulted. 

Most important in being rabies mindful: 
VDH, DGIF, and all animal health profes- 
sionals are unanimous that vaccination of do- 
mestic animals serves as a primary level of 
protection for humans from rabid wildlife. 



Rabies Mindfulness Tips 



Maintain up-to-date rabies vaccinations on pets. 

Keep trash inside until the morning of trash pick-up, or place 

in an animal-proof container. 

Do not leave pet food outside overnight. 

Close up all openings under your buildings; don't provide a 

raccoon or other reservoir species an opportunity to move in! 

Encourage neighbors to be mindful as w/ell. 

Ammonia soaked rags or mothballs in trash cans or around 

buildings w/ill discourage raccoons from visiting, but must be 

renewed after a rainstorm. 



• Reflective tape, lights, or noise sometimes work, but only 
temporarily as raccoons will quickly become accustomed to 
these methods. 

• If you see animals you suspect to be rabid, call your local 
Animal Control, Conservation Police Officer, DGIF office, or 
in Northern Virginia the Blue Ridge Wildlife Center Do not 
touch the animals even if dead. Use shovel or gloves to 
safely dispose of it. 

• All bites and possible exposure must be reported to VDH. 
Medical doctors, Animal Control, etc. will help you do that. 




Not all raccoons seen in daylight are rabid. They are often foraging for food 
for their young. 



Unsecured garbage cans and bags are taste-tempting 
treats for raccoons and other animals. 



16 VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com 




Openings that lead to crawl spaces become 
housing opportunities for raccoons! 



Deer are the most common host for ticks, but raccoons and other furbearers serve this 
purpose as well. 



And More 

Another interesting fact vis-a-vis raccoons is 
that they are very clean animals. Liking tidy 
dens, they build common latrines in the wild. 
A safeguard actually (isn't nature amazing) be- 
cause a potentially deadly roundworm, Baly- 
isascaris, is often present in raccoon 
scat — another mindfulness item to be re- 
membered regarding pets and toddlers 
(known to put fingers in their mouths) that 
might dig/play in areas frequented by rac- 
coons. 

Raccoons are also sources for canine dis- 
temper, a serious threat to dogs. And as with 
other furbearers, raccoons can carry an assort- 
ment of fleas, mange mites, and ticks. 
TICKS! Those sure are critters to be mindfial 
of Raccoons are not major vectors for Lyme 
and other tick-borne illnesses. Unfortunately 
a growing problem throughout Virginia, 
Lyme disease is more frequently spread by the 
white-footed mouse or other small rodents, 
but raccoons can get involved. (Link to my 
Bull's Eye feature at the end for details and 
"Prevention Per-tick-ulars!") 

Ticks, both adults and nymphs, wait pa- 
tiently on blades of grass or bits of leaf litter 
and simply transfer themselves to any passer- 
by for a blood-meal, a cozy resting place, or 
transportation. White-tailed deer are very 
popular, of course, but raccoons and other 
fiarbearers also serve this purpose, as can na- 
ture photographers like me, hunters, fisher- 
men, birdwatchers, and hikers like you, your 
children, and your family pets. Again, pets 
should be protected with tick-preventive 




Top, a female Eastern wood tick. Here, 
poison ivy leaves; note their mitten shape. 



medication for their safety and to keep ticks 
from being transported into our homes. 

Embrace with me the concept of mind- 
fulness in the outdoors. Be mindful of na- 
ture's beauty as well as its dangers and 
challenges. Nature is a wonderful treasure. 
Enjoying it means doing so responsibly. 
Teach children about raccoons, to be aware of 
ticks, and while you're at it, show them what 
poison ivy looks like too. Also watch the sun- 
rise, hike, hunt, fish, watch birds, and learn 
about wildflowers. You'll be glad you did. ?f 

Marie Majarov (miuw. majarov.com) lives in 
Winchester with her husband Milan; both are 
retired clinical psychologists, nature enthusiasts, and 
members of the Virginia Outdoor Writers Associa- 
tion. Marie is a Virginia Miuter Naturalist. 



RESOURCES 

Furbearer Hunting, Trapping, and 
Nuisance Problems: 

www.dgif.virginia.gov 

Blue Ridge Wildlife Center: 
www.blueridgewildlife.org 

VA Department of Health Rabies 
Information: www.vdh.virginia.gov/ 
epidemiology/DEE/Rabies/ 

Bull's Eye! Aim for Prevention, Article: 

www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/diseases/ 
lyme-disease/ 

Lyme Disease Information: 

www.vdh.virginia.gov/epidemiology/DEE/ 
Vectorborne/ 

Cure Unknown, by Pam Weintraub. 
Published by St. Martin's Griffin, 2009. 



OCTOBER 2011 ♦ 17 



.,\i m 




NoOl 



A new breed 

ofwaterfowlers 

has taken to the water. 

In kayaks. 

story by Tee Clorkson 
photos by Eric Ruthertord 

\ A T 

^^ / ^L / aterfowling in Virginia requires a 
^^J ^^U certain amount of honesty with 

▼ V one's self as well as an honesty 

about weather, tides, cold water, and... swamp mud. 
You pretty much have to love the smell of that and not 
mind scrubbing it from the cracks in your hands. And 
then there are the birds, which can be here one day and 
gone the next. No matter how much you speculate, cal- 
culate, and try and pattern, they will more often than 
not leave you scratching your head. In the twenty-plus 
years I have been duck hunting here, I have learned that 
it's usually those who put in the most work and who are 
the most creative who experience the most success. 

My first memories of hunting waterfowl in Vir- 
ginia aren't littered with a lot of birds. I never had a good 
spot to hunt when I was a kid. We scraped out a duck or 




ler Boat Will Go 




There is nothing quite 
like hunting with a dog, 
but before you put one 
on a kayak, practice 
during the summer. 
Also, be sure to check 
the current waterfowl 
regulations concerning 
requirements for a 
floating blind license 
east of 1-95. 



two here and there, hunting public waters and the occa- 
sional invitation to private property. I hunted mostly 
with my two brothers and my father. When we figured 
out something new and took a few birds as a result, we 
were on top of the world. To me, that's the draw of wa- 
terfowling, or really of any outdoor pursuit. You never 
stop learning. Just this year, I hunted a new spot I had 
been meaning to try for some time. It required a walk of 
a few hundred yards through a tidal swamp and hunker- 
ing down in water up to my waist, tucked in next to a 
muskrat hut. But when a group of pintails drops in on 



you from several hundred feet up, it's easy to forget 
about being cold, muddy, and wet, or the 200-yard trek 
back to the boat. 

Last season I met two brothers, Thomas and Taylor 
Jenkins, young hunters who are not afraid to try some- 
thing new in order to bag a few birds. Most notably they 
are using their kayaks more and more often to pursue 
waterfowl. In a time when both new and youth hunter 
numbers are diminishing, it is nice to see a couple of 
members of the upcoming generation of waterfowlers 
cutting their teeth with some ingenuity and creativity. 




OCTOBER 2011 ♦ 19 












!fl 



A stand of reeds like this offers perfect cover for a hunter (and his partner) in a kayak. 



It's swell that they love the sport, regardless of 
how many birds they shoot. 

Thomas is 22 and a senior at Washing- 
ton and Lee University, who will graduate 
with a degree in Environmental Studies. Tay- 
lor, 1 9, is in Lexington as well, a sophomore at 



VML Like most young hunters, they started 
hunting with their father. While their dad is 
not a huge waterfowler, he introduced them 
to the sport and they have taken it from there. 
And like most hunters across the state, 
Thomas and Taylor don't have a "honey hole " 
where they take ducks at will. They hunt tidal 
waters and, with only a handful of days to 
hunt on the weekends, do what they can 
to scratch out a bird or two. Incorpo- 
rating kayaks into their hunting over 



the last several seasons has rewarded the 
brothers with some increased success. 

Kayak hunting has become increasingly 
popular in recent years as hunting spots be- 
come more and more scarce. Large duck 
boats, big decoy spreads, and all that goes 
along with them are not cheap, and they 
won't always get you to that out-of-the-way, 
overlooked spot. Hunting from a kayak offers 
a more affordable option and the opportunity 
to reach some areas where larger boats cannot 
go. It was "out of necessity" that Thomas and 
Taylor say they began hunting from their 
kay;il<s. There were a few spots they wanted to 
hunt that they just couldn't get to otherwise. 

"One day my dad came home and I was 

spray-painting my red kayiik camo," Taylor 

says. "My dad wasn't too happy at 

^M the time." Since those days four 











i^pfe 






flWii^^Ai 



''•^e:% 








With a little luck, hunting with a kayak can bring good results, like these three bluebills. 



years ago, Taylor and Thomas have learned a 
few ins and outs about kayak hunting. 

"There are some advantages and disad- 
vantages," they say. First, you can't take many 
decoys, and second, you can't go too far from 
where you launch the boats. Of course kayaks 
do oflFer a few more launching options than a 
boat on a trailer. 

Both Taylor and Thomas are quick to 
point out the dangers of kayaking in the win- 
ter months and offer a few suggestions. First, 
sit-on-top kayaks are safer than sit-in kayaks 
since they will not fill with water should you 
flip over and need to self-rescue. The sit-on- 
tops are hollow and full of air, so if you do fall 
in you have a good chance of self-rescue if 
dressed properly. Since chest waders are com- 
mon and often needed, a wading belt and dry 
top are a must to keep as much water as possi- 
ble from coming into your waders should you 
end up overboard. Of course life jackets 
should be worn at all times. Thomas and Tay- 
lor also generally try to beach their kayaks on 
dry land, rather than shoot while floating. 

Preparation is an important element of 
most outdoor pursuits, and the necessity can- 



not be overstated when it comes to kayaking 
in cold water. It is a good idea to practice self- 
rescue during the summer, wearing what you 
would be wearing in the winter months when 
duck hunting. The young hunters usually 
take their dog. Skipper, along when they hunt 
from their kayaks. If you are going to bring a 
dog along on the back of your kayak, again, 
practice with the dog in the summer. Get 
your dog used to the paddling motion and ac- 
customed to being with you both solo and in 
a group. 

As for loading a kayak for hunting, the 
general rule is: Don't overload. If you have to, 
make a few trips. Always tether your gun, and 
always bring a dry bag with extra clothes 
should you need them in case of an emer- 
gency. The brothers also use paddles with 
white blades and hide them while hunting 
rather than painting them a camo pattern. 
The white blades of the paddles could be use- 
ftil to flag down another boater should they 
get into trouble. The basic rule with kayaks, 
and really with any boating in the winter- 
time, is: If in doubt about safety, stay home or 
go somewhere else. 



If you have a spot in mind where kayaks 
might prove an added bonus, make sure to 
scout ahead and find the shortest route that is 
either close to land or in water where you can 
stand. Above all else, never go out on big 
water alone. 

As Robert Burns timelessly noted, "The 
best laid plans of mice and men often go 
askew." The morning when I was supposed to 
hunt with Thomas and Taylor, I was instead 
at home nursing a sick kid with the flu. I did 
enjoy hearing the story of how a big group of 
bluebills had buzzed past, turned, banked 
into the wind, and dropped right in their 
spread and how the guys had dropped four, 
their limit. 

"We could have used another gun," 
Thomas said, rubbing it in a little, though un- 
intentionally. While I was disappointed to 
miss the hunt, it did get me to thinking. I 
have a little spot in mind that the ducks like to 
use on a rising tide that sure would be a lot 
easier to get to in a kayak. ?f 

Tee Clarkson is an English teacher and runs Virginia 

Fishing Adventures, a fishing camp for kids: 
tscLirkson @virginiafishingadventures. com. 



OCTOBER 2011 ♦ 21 





Teachers 

and administrators 

reflect on this successful 

environmental 

education program. 

story and photos 
by Gail Brown 



hile most of us prefer 
standing in the sunshine 
with a fishing net to sitting 
at a desk on the Internet, the plain truth is to 
help deserving schools in your community 
receive Virginia Naturally recognition you 
simply have to come inside — for just a litde 
while. Fortunately, with access to a computer 
most of what you need to know about the 
Virginia Naturally School recognition pro- 
gram is but a few quick clicks of the mouse 
away, leaving plenty of time to scurry right 
back outdoors! To learn more, and learn it 
quickly, just visit www.dgif.virginia.gov/ 
education. The answers to most of your 
questions will instantly appear. 

You will find the program's goal: "To 
recognize those exemplary efforts undertak- 
en by Virginia schools to increase the envi- 
ronmentiil awareness and stewardship of its 
students," and the official state definidon, 
which states in part: "Virginia Naturally 
Schools is the official environmental recog- 
nition program of the Commonwealth." The 
ist of the current Virginia Naturally schools, 
followed by the number of years they have 
participated in the program, is readily avail- 
able. No doubt you'll notice that four 
schools: John Wayland Elementary (Rock- 
iridge Co.), North Branch School (Afton), 
I'casley Middle (Gloucester Co.), and St. 
Paul High School (Wise Co.), have received 
Virginia Naturally recognition each year 
since the program's inception 12 years ago. 

At Pearson's Corner ES, smiles say it all: 
"We're proud of all we do." 



% Virginia 
^ y J \ yNaturally 





By looking over the complete list, you will 
easily glean that promoting environmental 
awareness is front and center in Hanover 
County, where six schools are currently recog- 
nized for their environmental efforts: Atlee 
High School, Kersey Creek Elementary, Lee- 
Davis High School, Mechanicsville Elemen- 
tary, Pearson's Corner Elementary, and 
Stonewall Jackson Middle School. 

Yet there are some details that won't fit 
neatly into any category, but are important to 
the big picture nonetheless. What you won't 
uncover online is that the program often trav- 
els from school to school with less stealth than 
once used to pass notes in middle school. Peo- 
ple simply tell each other. And if they move, 
they take what they believe is a good idea with 
them. As Linda Painter, lead science teacher 
and creative force behind nine years of envi- 
ronmental stewardship at Pearson's Corner 
explained, "Other schools in the county have 
seen what we've done and now are doing the 
same. When Kersey Creek opened, a good 
number of our staff and students moved 



there. They brought their dedica- 
tion to conserving our resources 
with them. So Kersey Creek be- 
came a Virginia Naturally 
School, too. Over the years, the 
program in the county has contin 
to grow." 

Should you want to see the application, 
or obtain information on the application 
process, stay put a bit longer. You will learn 
that schools applying for first year recogni- 
tion must supply information in four cate- 
gories: administrative support, resource 
conservation, staff development-curriculum 
integration, and meaningful field experi- 
ences, while schools seeking recognition for 
continued efforts (two years and beyond) are 
required to provide additional information 
each year they apply. If you should need any 
help with the application, or answers to a 
particular question about the Virginia Natu- 
rally school initiative, the website provides 
contact information for Suzie Gilley, DGIF's 
wildlife educator and "go to " person for Vir- 




Environmental stewardsfiip and community 
outreach go hand-in-hand at St. Paul's 
Estonoa Learning Center 



ginia Naturally schools. St. Paul science 
teacher Terry Vencil shared, "When we need- 
ed guidance as to how to expand our steward- 
ship efforts, I just called Suzie Gilley and she 
put me in touch with Mike Pinder," the 
aquatic resource project manager at the De- 
partment's Aquatic Wildlife Conservation 
Center. "Now we are helping to restore en- 
dangered freshwater mussels in the Clinch 
River. You just need to ask for help and it's 
there. And this year we are doubling our ef- 
forts." 




^^^^^^^^^^ 




r 

^.<', 




1 




1 *■ ' 


If 


• 


i 



Art and science come together on the Appalachian Trail for Blue Ridge MS students. Right, Both kids and oysters win when 
Western Branch MS students take their math and science skills outside. 



OCTOBER 201 1 



23 




A unique project at Eureka ES involved raising and releasing Northern bobwhite quail. Right, the Quilt Garden created and enjoyed by students at 
John Wayland ES reflects the folk art of the Shenandoah Valley. Below, teacher Alice Sinnon, volunteer Jack Simon, and Venture Scout Silver Aw/ard 
recipient Rachel Park beautify the area around the Atlee HS pond. 



And there's more good news for those 
wanting to help! Schools meeting those first- 
year requirements receive a handsome 
plaque. For each year (up to nine additional 
years) that a school earns Virginia Naturally 
status, they receive a colorfial pennant with a 
state symbol emblazoned in the center. Pho- 
tos of the plaque and the pennants are also 
available online. Still, it is when we see the 
plaque and the pennants proudly displayed in 
the hallways, cafeterias, and lobbies of our 
own schools that we truly understand how 
important environmental stewardship is to all 
of us. It reveals possibilities. It helps us con- 
nect. And it makes us feel good. The pennants 
also give us pause to consider not just what 
project earned the school community this 
honor, or how they accomplished their goals, 
but most importantly, why they were moti- 
vated to do so. 

^X^y is it that Atlee High School art stu- 
dents work so hard each year to reclaim and 
beautify the school's Cool Spring pond? True, 
it's a wonderful place to sketch and paint, and 
yes, their efforts have enabled the physical ed- 
ucation department to add fishing to their 
program, but their continued hard work to 
promote recycling and environmental aware- 
ness comes out of their own after-school time. 



"I think being out in nature calms every- 
one, ' said Alice Simon, art teacher and leader 
of Atlee's environmental efforts. "Planting 
and painting, growing and recording, both 
reconnect us to the nature of ourselves. Na- 
ture draws us in; it's so peaceful. " 

Former Atlee student, Rachel Park, 
earned her Venture Scout Silver Award in 
Scouting for her efforts to plant trees, create a 
path, and build and place benches by the 
pond. "She worked very, very hard, " stated 



Simon, who sees a connection between the 
goals of Scouting and the goals of the Virginia 
Naturally schools' program. 

Connections are also made on other lev- 
els. Assistant Principal Marlene Jefferson of 
Blue Ridge Middle School stated, "We feel a 
specific need to lead in the area of environ- 
mental education and continuing to be recog- 
nized as a Virginia Naturally school 
communicates to our community the direc- 
tion we are heading. " Central High School's 




J 



24 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com 




Central HS students are strong leaders in FFA and VAN initiatives and taught to put safety first. 
Below, one great park (York River) plus one VAN school (Pearson's Corner) equals science at 
its best. 



principal, Christopher R. Cook, wrote: "After 
two consecutive years of receiving this recog- 
nition, a focus on good environmental stew- 
ardship has become even more embedded in 
the culture of our school." Interestingly, Cen- 
tral High has a strong presence in Virginia's 
FFA Association (former Future Farmers of 
America). The fit is natural on so many levels. 
A dedication to environmental stewardship 
was certainly present in Wise County's St. 
Paul High for the past 12 years, as Terry Ven- 



cil's science students showed everyone what 
young adults can and will do for their com- 
munity. When Vencil's students discovered 
that the area adjacent to their school (long 
used as a town dump) was a wetland, they 
went to work and restored it to its natural 
state. They called their peaceful wetland 
Estonoa, Land of Blue Water, out of respect 
for the area's Native American history. Soon 
nature came back and Estonoa became a 
symbol of all the beautihil and wild things 





Patrick Copeland ES students and staff created 
a tire playground out of recycled tires. But how 
to get the kids back inside? 

that surround this Alleghany community. As 
more citizens become aware of the natural 
beauty at Estonoa, the more important it be- 
came both before, and certainly after, disaster 
struck. 

"We had a big flood a number of years 
ago and all our hard work at Estonoa was 
washed out, " said Vencil. "The dock was gone, 
the plants were gone, the path we worked so 
hard to create was gone. The kids came to my 
house because they didn't know if I had seen it; 
they must have thought I'd have a heart attack! 
I told them it wasn't about me and it really was 
not about Estonoa. It was about them. They 
were the ones that would take the love of na- 
ture into the future to share with others. We 
would fix the wetland again. The real Estonoa 
is what they carry in their heart. Ajid their 
hearts were just fine." 

Area schools received an immediate 
bump in enrollment when St. Paul closed this 
past year, but it is the staffs and students' sense 
of responsibility to their community and the 
natural world that surrounds them that will 
make the lasting difference wherever they go. 

Perhaps teacher Linda Painter summed it 
up best when she said, "Most families don't 
have time for gardens. Everyone's working. We 
have to get the kids away from those (electron- 
ic) games and outside so they'll learn to take 
ownership of their schools and communit)'. 
We need to start doing things differently. Vir- 
ginia Naturally helps us do just that. " ('*■ 

Gail Brown is a retired teacher and school 

administrator. 



OCTOBER 201 1 



25 





essay & photos 
by King Montgomery 



Fly-fishing great Lefty Kreh stood close 
to Staff Sgt. Josh Williams, showing 
him how to roll cast better. Between 
them the two men have three arms. "He's 
Lefty #1 and Lm Lefty #2," says Williams, a 
big smile on his youthftil face. After combat 
tours in Iraq, SSG Williams lost his right arm 
above the elbow in a stateside vehicle acci- 
dent. 

Now he's medically retired from the 
U.S. Army, married to his long-time sweet- 
heart, Lisa, and the Roanoke couple has a 
new baby girl. He has a good job, has sold an 
original fly pattern to the Orvis Company, 
and hunts and fishes whenever he can. 

Williams didn't fly fish before losing his 
arm, but he became a fly-fishing fanatic after 
taking part in Project Healing Waters Fly 
Fishing programs while recuperating from in- 
jury. Now he leads PHWFF-sponsored 
events in the Roanoke area. He teaches and 
helps other wounded and disabled veterans of 
all services to tie flies, fly cast, and fly fish. 
These activities aid mental and physical re- 
covery from injuries incurred in the line-of- 
duty. 

Project Healing Waters had its genesis in 
Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Vir- 
ginia over six years ago. Two of the project's 
major fundraisers, where volunteer guides 
fish with veterans, take place in the Old Do- 
minion. The annual 2-Fly PHWFF Tourna- 
ment is held the first Sunday in May at the 
Rose River Farm near Syria; the Mossy Creek 
Invitational Tournament, conducted on a 
private stretch of the stream near Bridgewater, 



Sgt. J.R. Salzman's father rigged a device so 
a fly rod could be affixed to his prosthesis. 
Now medically retired, J.R. still fly fishes as 
much as he can. 



Iiing for Recovery 




PHWFF does whatever necessary to get 
wounded vets to the water to fly fish. 
Below, Staff Sgt. Josh Williams receives 
some tips from Lefty Kreh. 



is always in June. Between them, they 
brought in over $300,000 in 201 1. 

Douglas Dear, a Great Falls resident 
who owns the Rose River Farm near Syria, 
chairs the PFiWFF Board of Trustees. An 
avid bird hunter and fly angler, he maintains a 
gorgeous stretch of the Rose River as a trophy 
trout fishery and allows anglers to fish for a 
fee. The private Mossy Creek waters of Ar- 
lington's Bob Fitch, a senior VP at BAE Sys- 
tems, are full of fat trout, and the veterans 
love fishing there each June. Bob is a member 
of the PHWFF Board of Trustees. 

This grassroots non-profit organization 
began locally and, by late 2011 , expanded to 
nearly 100 programs across the country. 



Tliere now is a chapter in Canada, and an ex- 
change program with the United Kingdoms 
Fishing for Heroes group is in place. 

Richmond's Phil Johnson is the 
PHWFF regional coordinator for Virginia 
and West Virginia. He is very active, particu- 
larly with the vets from nearby Hunter 
McGuire Veterans Administration Medical 
Center. There also are programs in Newport 
News, Fort Belvoir, and Salem, as well as 
Beckley and Huntington, WV. Contact Phil 
at 804-638-0245. For more information, see 
www.projecthealingwaters.org. (*f 

King Montgomery is a member of the PHWFF 
Board of Trustees and a combat-wounded veteran 
of the Vietnam War. 




AFIELD AND AFLOAT 






n\->TOs io» iHt my 

\OI-l Ml 1 




Outdoor 
Classics 



Hmiteisfor the Hitngiy Venison 
Cookbook II, revised edition 

Laura Nevvell-Furniss, Mitzi Boyd, 
Gary Arrington, ed. 

Hunters for the Hungry 

Comb-bound, 299 pages 

Now $ 1 2.00. Special bulk pricing for 

quantities over 10 

www.h4hungry.org 

1-800-352-4868 

"It is the concept of neighbor helping neighbor, of 
hunters and non-hunters cooperating, of proces- 
sors and distributors ivorking together that helps 
make the Hunters for the Hungry proginni a 
success. Tloe hungry benefit; the tradition of 
hunting in Virginia benefits; the deer herd bene- 
fits. It is a winning strategy for all involved. " 

—TIk editors 

Autumn is with us once again, and for many 
readers of this magazine, thoughts are turning 
toward deer season, cool-weather activities, 
and the hospitality of the upcoming holidays. 
What better way to celebrate the turning of 
the year than with a companionable volume 
of delicious venison recipes. Proceeds from 
the purchase of this cookbook help feed Vir- 
ginia's neediest citizens through the Hunters 
for the Hungry (HFTH) program. Since 
1991, through the voluntary efforts of 
hunters, meat processors, and the generosity 
of a diverse pool of financial supporters, 
enough venison has been donated and 
processed by HFTH partners to provide 
those in need with over 18,247,808 servings 
of high-protein, low-fat deer meat. 

Hunters, volunteer hunter education in- 
structors, amateur and professional chefs, 
and sundry celebrities from around our com- 
monwealth have contributed to this compre- 
hensive gathering of 244 recipes. For those 
readers who arc tamiliar with HFTH and 



purchased Volume I, this is an entirely new 
collection. It includes marinades, appetizers, 
barbeque ideas, chili, stew, crockpot and can- 
ning techniques, main dishes, desserts, and 
much, much more. There are eight methods 
for deer jerky, recipes for venison bologna and 
sausage, and for the holidays, a mouth-water- 
ing, seasonally-attuned recipe for venison 
mincemeat bars. 

Included in the cookbook are instruc- 
tions for field-dressing deer, quartering and 
butchering, helpful venison cooking tips, and 
a compendium of HFTH partnerships. Each 
volume is sent with an informative brochure 
that lists the professional deer processors and 
deer collection points for 20 1 1 . 

At $12 each, there is simply no reason 
not to share this wonderful book with your 
hunting friends and non-hunting gour- 
mands alike. And if you plan to gift someone 
with fresh deer meat this season, this volume 
would be the perfect accompaniment, help- 
ing to ensure that no good deer goes to waste. 

A Day of Photography 
in the Garden 

October 22, 2011 

7:30 A.M.- 3:30 RM. 

Stay 'til 5 RM. on your own afterward at Lewis 
Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond. Join 
renowned local professional photographers 
(including Photo Tips columnist Lynda 
Richardson) for an exciting and informative 
day about various aspects of photography! 
There are outdoor demonstration opportuni- 
ties, lectures, and displays about area photog- 
raphy clubs and services. Visit with fellow 
enthusiasts, pick some professionals' brains, 
learn new tips to make your photographs bet- 
ter, join a photography group! Planned 
events wrap up at 3:30 RM., so you'll have 
some time to practice your new skills in the 
garden, one of the most photogenic spots in 
Richmond! $46 / $35 member through Oc- 
tober 14; $56 / $45 member after October 
14; student rates (with valid high school, 
community college, or college I.D.: $25 
through October 14; $35 after). For more in- 
formation: www.lewisginter.org/events/ 
cvcnt_detail.php?event_id=808#i. 




Ed Clark of the Wildlife Center of Virginia 
releases a juvenile bald eagle previously 
rescued from its nest at the Norfolk 
Botanical Gardens. A crowd of more than 
1000 fans looked on, many of whom 
followed these birds on the DGIF Eagle Cam. 



Do You Use a Wildlife 

Management Area or 

Fishing Lake? 

Effective January 1, 2012, a Facility Use 
Permit will be required when using any 
Department-owned Wildlife Manage- 
ment Area or Fishing Lake. The permit is 
not required for any person holding a valid 
hunting, fishing, or trapping license or a 
current certificate of boat registration 
issued by the Department or for persons 
16 years of age or younger. The Permit 
requirement does not apply to Depart- 
ment-owned boat ramps or segments of 
the Appalachian Trail on Department- 
owned land. The Facility Use Permit fee is 
$4 for a daily permit or $23 for an annual 
permit and may be purchased online or at 
any license agent. 



28 



VIRGINIA WILDUFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com 



I 




:dl- 



Pick one up for yourself and others on 
your holiday gift list. Where else can 
you get such a deal, at only $10 each? 

The 2012 calendar features stunning 
photographs and information about hunting 
seasons, favorable fishing dates and state 
records, wildlife behavior, and more! 

Send your check payable to 
"Treasurer of Virginia" to: 
Virginia Wildlife Calendar 

P.O. Box 11104 
Richmond, VA 23230-1104 



To pay by VISA or MasterCard, you may order online at www.HuntFishVA.com 
on our secure site. Please allow 4 to 6 weeks for delivery. 






You Can Make a Difference 
HUNTERS FOR THE HUNGRY 



2 



^OR T/y^ 




1^ 



55 



Youth 

Waterfowl Hunting Days 

October 22, 201 1 & February 4, 201 2 




www.HuntFishVA.com/youth 



Hunters for the Hungry receives donated deer from successful hunters and funds 
to cover the costs of processing, so that venison may be distributed to those 
in need across the state. Each $40 contribution allow/s another deer to be accepted. 
Hunters donating an entire deer are not reguired to pay any part of the processing 
fee. 

The David Home Hunger Relief Bill gives hunters the opportunity to donate $2 
or more to the program vi/hen purchasing a hunting license. One hundred percent 
of each donation goes to providing venison to the hungry. For additional informa- 
tion or to make a donation, visit www.h4hungry.org or call 1-800-352-HUNT 
(4868). Each of us can make a difference. 



IMAGE OF THE MONTH 




To learn more about Find Gaive, visit 
www.HuntFishVA.com/hunting/findgame 




CongratulationsgotoTylerArmelof Amissvillefor 
his spooky image of a sign ealnng tree! Yikes! Just 
when you thought you were safe in the woods. 
Armel spotted this monster near his property in 
Bath County in the George Washington National 
Forest. Beware! Canon Rebel T2i digital SLR camera, 
Canon 55-250mm lens, ISO 3200, l/1250th, f/5.6. 



You are invited to submit one to five of your best 
photographs to "Image of the Month," Virginia 
WiLdh'fe Magazine, P.O. Box 11104, 4010 West 
Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23230-1104. Send 
original sh'des, super high-quality prints, or high- 
res jpeg, tiff, or raw files on a disk and include a 
self-addressed, stamped envelope or other ship- 
ping method for return. Also, please include any 
pertinent information regarding how and where 
you captured the image and what camera and set- 
tings you used, along with your phone number. We 
look forward to seeing and sharing your work with 
our readers. 



OCTOBER 2011 ♦ 29 



Whitetail Biology 

Fall = Life in a Rut 



This is part one in a series about 

white-tailed deer biology and 

how deer behavior and diet 

change throughout the seasons. 

Everyday deer lite and social interactions 
in the fall are dominated by the breed- 
ing season, or what deer hunters commonly 
call the rut. By the time the leaves begin to 
turn color and temperatures begin to moder- 
ate in mid- to late September, bucks start to 
look and act differently. This change in ap- 
pearance and behavior is controlled by de- 
clining day length, or photo-period. In 
response to shorter days, velvet sheds from 
the buck's antlers and breeding season offi- 
cially begins. Lite in the whitetail world is 
about to get a little crazy. 

Bucks that idly spent the stmimer enjoy- 
ing the company of other males now become 
loners and view each other as competitors 
and adversaries. The first four to six weeks of^ 



essay by Matt Knox 

the breeding season is spent determining 
their soci;il hierarchy. To determine pecking 
order, bucks spar with each other. These en- 
counters are not true fights but more like 
antler "shoving matches," allowing each buck 
to assess the strength of the other. 

The day the velvet is shed, a buck will 
begin rubbing his antlers against shrubs and 
trees, making a "rub" that serves as a visual ad- 
vertisement with a hidden chemical message. 
Typically placed in high-traffic areas, a buck 
rub announces his presence to the does in the 
area, and the chemical clues left on the rub 
ser\'e to bring the does into and synchronize 
estrus. Smell, or scent communication, is a 
very important component of deer life, espe- 
cially during the fall. Buck rubbing typically 
peaks in late September/early October but 
continues at some lower level until the antlers 
are shed in winter. 

Courtship typically begins in mid- to 
late October, several weeks prior to actual 
breeding. During the early part of this 



courtship phase, bucks chase does in a char- 
acteristic head down posture, following the 
doe's scent and making a clearly audible grunt 
call — often trailing far behind the retreating 
female. Does are often chased by several 
bucks at the same time. Later, at closer range, 
the buck will often m;ike a distinctive head 
down sprint toward the doe. During 
courtship, social hierarchy becomes ver\' evi- 
dent and aggressive interactions between 
bucks are common. The vast majority of 
these encounters end with one buck backing 
down. If the bucks are evenly matched and 
one of the bucks does not back down, a fight 
ensues. 

During courtship, bucks make a second 
type of unique signpost called a scrape. 
Scrapes are one of the more unusud behav- 
iors exhibited by male whitetails during the 
rut and ultimately result in a pawed area in 
the ground. To start a scrape, a buck will ap- 
proach trees with a limb or branch hanging at 
or just above deer head height. The buck will 




30 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ ww/v^/.HuntFJshiVA.com 



lick and rub the branch about his head for up 
to a minute. After marking the branch, he 
will vigorously paw a depression in the 
grotind under the branch, using his ftont legs 
to clear it to bare earth. Lastly, he may per- 
form what is called a rub urination. He will 
stand in the scrape, rubbing the inside of his 
back legs together at the tarsal glands while he 
urinates upon them. Unlike rubs, which peak 
early in the rut, scrapes typically appear dur- 
ing the courtship phase of the rut just prior to 
breeding. 

As October comes to an end, the breed- 
ing and tending phase of the rut will begin. 
The peak oi breeding in Virginia typically oc- 
curs in mid-November or just a little earlier. 
As a doe comes into estrus, she will let the 
dominant chasing buck approach to closer 
and closer distances; finally, she will stand for 
breeding. Does are in estrus for about 24 
hours, and if they fail to conceive, will cycle 
again in about 28 days. After they have bred, 
the buck will "tend " or follow the doe, pro- 
tecting her from other suitors for a period of 
time ranging from a couple of hours to a day 
or more. By late November/early December 
the rut is mostly over, and deer life begins to 
return to normal. 

The basic family unit in deer society is a 
doe group consisting of a dominant doe, her 
female offspring, and all of their fawns. These 
doe family groups are directly related and 
may number from a couple of animals to a 
dozen or more. During the rut, doe family 
groups make one substantial change. At 1 V2 
years of age when they grow their first set of 
antlers, male offspring are driven out of the 
family group and often disperse far away 
from their natal range. It is hypothesized that 
this male dispersal reduces the chances of in- 
terbreeding. 

At the peak of the rut, doe family life is 
disrupted by the advances of the males for a 
couple of weeks or so. But after the does are 
bred, their family life quickly returns to nor- 
mal. 

"Normal" in the fall means finding 
food. During this season, a deer's metabolism 
converts from growing (simimer) to putting 
on fat, and if acorns are available, they will be 
the most important food item — especially 
those of the white oak. Putting on fat will 
help the whitetail survive the coming winter. 

Matt Knox is a deer project coordinator for the ^ 
Department, servingsonth-centynl Virginia. @ 




OCTOBER 2011 ♦ 31 




In my opinion, the Labrador retriever is 
the best all-around hunting dog you can 
buy, even if I do say so myself — and I do. 
Quite often. However, when it comes to quail 
or grouse hunting, a good pointing dog is 
hard to beat. I mean here is a dog that runs 
around in the woods or fields, and when it 
scents the bird it suddenly stops and freezes 
and points to where its nose is saying the birds 
are. A canine can't make it much simpler than 
that! Why I've seen some of you quail hunters 
stop your car by a good-looking piece of quail 
territory, let your dog out of the car, and en- 
courage it to run around in said field. If your 
dog points, then you take the trouble to get 
out of the car and go to where it is pointing. 
You can almost hear the dog say, "They are 
right here. Boss. Now take a couple of steps, 
flush em, and see if you can hit one or two 
with those brown bullets." 

Frankly, I think it is not much ol a chal- 
lenge to quail hunt with a pointing dog. After 
all, when a pointing dog goes on point, the 
dog knows the quail are there, the hunter 
knows the quail are there, and the quail cer- 
tainly know they are there. 

Hunting quail with z flushing dog, on the 



other hand (or paw), adds a few extra pumps 
to your heart rate. When we scent quail, we 
move in fast for the big rush of flush. The 
closer we get to the birds, the hotter the scent 
and the faster we move in. We like nothing 
better than to put those birds in the air so you 
can do your job. So you bird hunters better 
keep up with your flushing dogs when quail 
hunting, because if you don't, it is going to be 
"all go and no show" for you efforts. 

But back to what I was saying. . . If I was 
looking for a pointing partner, I think I 
would look very closely at a German short- 
haired pointer (GSP) for a number of rea- 
sons. They have a reputation for hunting 
closer to you than the EngUsh pointer. The 
GSP is known as one of the continental 
breeds of bird dog, and in Europe continental 
breeds may be asked to hunt game with fiar 
and not just feathers. WTiere in America you 
hunters have tended to appreciate hard 
charging, wide-going pointers, Europeans 
often require a different style of hunting. In 
Europe, this versatile dog had to be able to re- 
trieve hares, run, and sound when chasing 
deer. The GSP was required to act as a guard 
dog as well. Its webbed feet help the German 



shorthaired pointer be an excellent swimmer, 
although its docked tail hinders its naviga- 
tional abilities. Retrieving is not a big prob- 
lem for the GSP and this dog can be used in a 
duck blind during early season and in cU- 
mates warmer than ours. 

Americans began to import the German 
shorthaired pointer in the 1920s when look- 
ing for a pointing breed that excelled in most 
environments and found that the GSP per- 
formed well not only as a hunting dog and in 
field trials but also in agility and obedience 
competitions. Because of their affection for 
people, German shorthairs are also used as 
therapy dogs. 

An interesting aspect of the shorthaired 
pointer is the variation of its coat color. Ac- 
cording to the German Shorthaired Pointer 
Club of America, a GSP can be solid liver 
(Americans sometimes refer to this as choco- 
late), liver and white, or black and white, but 
not a combination of liver, black, and white. 

Some German shorthaired pointers 
have a particidar quirk. According to some 
breeders, the GSP is not a dog to be ig- 
nored — meaning that it is a dog that thrives 
on attention and requires a great deal of exer- 
cise. If left alone for a period of time, it could 
be destructive. 

So if you are an active family and want a 
dog with the affection of Don Juan and the 
brains of Wernher von Braun, you owe it to 
yourself to check out a German shorthaired. 
What other dog do you know that will always 
be happy to hunt for you and, after an excit- 
ing day afield, help your child with his science 



projectr 



Keep a leg up, 
Luke 




fall f uEke)f 

Hunt Da)^ 



www.HuntFishVA.com/youth 




-zUrZ^^uZ'- 




—n,sroOif/f- 



"Let Daddy know if you get a bite." 



32 VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com 




Photo Tips 

by Lynda Richardson 



Odd Numbers are the Rule in Composition 



Composition can be defined as "the 
placement or arrangement of visual 
design elements in a work of art." These ele- 
ments include line, shape, color, texture, 
form, value, and space. Most photographers 
understand and use the Rule ofTlnrds as their 
compositional guideline. This is a great idea 
but there is more to composition. 

To clarify, the Rule of Thirds calls for 
placing a subject in one of four "sweet spots" 
in your camera's viewfinder or LCD screen. 
These spots are found by drawing two equally 
spaced, imaginary lines both horizontally and 
vertically through your viewfinder. Where 
the lines intersect are the sweet spots, consid- 
ered the best locations for placing a subject as 
you begin to compose your shot. 

The Rule of Thirds is named such be- 
cause when you draw the lines through your 
viewfinder you are actually creating three 
large, equal spaces that can be divided fiirther 
into nine small, equal spaces both horizontal- 
ly and vertically. Notice I said three and nine! 
Odd numbers rule in composition. 

There is even a rule called the Rule of 
Odds! As you might imagine, this rule refers 
to the use of odd-numbered elements in a 
composition. Technically, the rule states "by 
framing the object of interest in a photograph 
with an even number of surrounding ele- 
ments, the entire composition becomes com- 
forting to the eye, creating a feeling of ease 
and pleasure." An example of this would be 
when photographing a group ot friends, one 
friend would be in the center with two sur- 
rounding them. The result is a very simple, 
yet pleasing arrangement. 

Using odd numbers in composition can 
even be seen in landscape photography, as 
demonstrated in the January 2011 Photo 
Tips column, "Happy Horizontal Horizons." 
For the most interesting landscapes, you 
never divide a photograph in half instead, 
you use the one-third and two-thirds division 
of a scene. 

As you know, photographs are two-di- 
mensional. They have height and width but 
no depth. So, here comes another odd num- 



ber: make your photographs three-dimen- 
sional! You can visually create depth by how 
you place elements in your composition. A 
winding sidewalk or pathway placed in the 
left foreground and leading into the right 
background will create a path for the viewer's 
eye to follow "deep" into the photograph. 
Depth also can be created by the use of color 
and form. Bright colors like red or a large, 
dark object can accomplish this by drawing 
the viewer's eye into the background. 

With selective placement of elements in 
the foreground, middle, and background, 
you can draw the viewer's eye around the 
frame. This can be done well if you try to cre- 
ate a triangle with those elements. (Yet anoth- 
er odd number!) The triangle can be thin, 
long, tall, wide, or deep, depending on your 
situation, but it will help you place elements 
around a scene to create a balanced composi- 
tion with depth. 

Control ot where a viewer looks in a 
photograph is very important, as the whole 



point of great composition is to lead the eye 
throughout an entire image. So the odds are 
in your tavor! Happy Shooting! 

Lynda Richardson Workshops | 

All classes are held at Lewis Ginter 
Botanical Garden. Goto: wwv\/.lew/isgin- 
ter.org to register and look under Adult 
& Family Education, or call (804) 262- 
9887 Ext. 322 (Mon-Fri, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). 

Introduction to Flash Photography on 
Sept 8, 10, 15, 17, and 20. Learn to use 
this intimidating tool indoors and out! 

Photographing Color in the Garden on 
Sept 22, 24, 29, Oct 1 and 4. Under- 
standing the power of color and rela- 
tionships between colors can increase 
the WOW factor of your images! 

Composition Short Course on October 
27, 29, and Nov 1. Learn to compose a 
great photographic image by seeing it in 
a new way! 




Odd numbers are best when photographing a small group; in this case, shadows represent people. 
Here, my angelic little sister (HA!) holds a metal detector behind her head while our mom holds 
two fingers behind my head for an impromptu portrait on the beach. Notice how the shells in the 
sand subtlety draw your eye around the frame! Canon G9 digital camera, ISO 100, l/250th, f/8.0. 
©2010 Lynda Richardson 



OCTOBER 2011 ♦ 33 



ining In 

by Ken and Maria Perrotte 
Venison Wellington 



Here's a nice dish to try when you are expecting com- 
pany and you have some prime, boned-out cuts of 
venison. It is a twist on Beef Wellington. Beneath the crust, 
though, isn't a pate but a good Dijon mustard and a dirxelles 
ofmushroom. 

Ingredients 

1 '2 pound venison backstrap or round roast 
Va teaspoon meat tenderizer 

V2 teaspoon favorite steak seasoning 

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce 

2 cups finely chopped mushrooms (mixed varieties 

add complexit)') 
2 minced garlic cloves 
V2 cup finely chopped onion 

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided 

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon butter, divided 
2 teaspoons dry sherry 

Salt and pepper 

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard 

Egg wash — 1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water 

1 piece puft pastry (Pepperidge Farm works well, but you 
can make your own) 

A few teaspoons flour (to flour rolling surface and thicken 

sauce) 
V2 cup beef broth 

2 tablespoons dry red wine 
1 sprig fresh rosemary 

1 to 3 teaspoons sugar 




Season meat with tenderizer, steak seasonings, and Worcester- 
shire sauce and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 4 hours. 
Remove and pat dry with a paper towel. This promotes 
browning. 

While the venison marinates, chop vegetables. Melt two 
tablespoons oi butter in one tablespoon of olive oil in a large 
skillet over medium heat. Add vegetables and cook until the 
mushrooms begin to render their liquid. Add sherr)' and 
continue cooking until most of the liquids evaporate. Stir 
occasionally. Reduce heat if needed to prevent burning. Total 
cooking time should be 7 to 10 minutes. Tlie mixture will not 
appear completely dry because of the fats. These help keep the 
meat moist while roasting. Season with a little sdt and pepper. 
Remove to a bowl and set aside. 

Pre-heat oven to 375°. 

In the same skillet, heat remaining two teaspoons of oil 
over medium-high heat. Add the meat and brown on all sides, 
including the ends. This takes a couple of minutes per side. Set 
skillet aside, reserving any juices. Set meat aside on a platter. 

Roll pastry dough on a floured surface to %-inch thick- 
ness. Roll enough to easily encompass the meat. Spread mus- 
tard over the top of the roast and then top with mushrooms. 
Place meat top side down on the dough. Wrap the meat, over- 
lapping and moistening the edges with a little water to seal the 
seams. Place seam-side down in a greased baking dish and 
insert a meat thermometer into thickest part. Make a small slit 
on opposite side of thermometer to vent. Use dough scraps to 
decorate the top of the Wellington. Brush the top and sides 
with the egg wash. Bake at 375° for about 25 minutes, or until 
the meat registers the desired temperature ( 1 20 for rare, 1 30 
for medium rare, and 145 for medium) and the pastry is gold- 
en brown. Tlie venison will continue to cook after removal 
from the oven, so don't overcook. Let rest for about 1 5 min. 

While the Wellington roasts, add the broth, wine, and 
rosemary to skillet. Heat over medium heat, scraping up any 
brown bits, until it begins to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 
imcovered for about 1 minutes, or until liquid is reduced by 
half If the sauce is bitter, add sugar to taste. Season with salt 
and pepper. Whisk together one teaspoon softened butter and 
one teaspoon flour. Whisk mixture into the sauce, a little at a 
time, imtil you reach desired consistency. 

Slice the Wellington and serve with sauce. 

Tarragon works well in place of the rosemary in the sauce 
and is a frequent and flavorful accompaniment to the mus- 
tard. Roasted vegetables, potatoes, and a hearty red wine pair 
well with this dish. 



34 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com 




VI 



iCiGIMLA 



M. 



WILDLIT 









Photo Contest Reminder 

The deadline for submitting photographs 
forthe 201 1 Virginia Wildlife Photography 
Contest is November 2, 2011. 

Winning photographs will appear in 
the special March 201 2 issue of the maga- 
zine. For more information about the con- 
test and to view last year's edition online, 
visit the Department's website at: 

http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/ 

photocontest. 





Bound Editions 2010 

A Great Gift at $26.75 
Call (804) 367-0486 for details 




201 1 Limited Edition Virginia Wildlife 
Collector's Knife 

Our customized 201 1 Collector's Knife is a Model 1 1 9 Special 
Buck knife which features a black bear. The handle is made 
from diamondwood with an aluminum guard and butt. Blade 
is 420HC steel. Knives and boxes, made in USA. 



Item #VW-411 



$95.00 (plus $7.25 S&H) 



To Order visit the Department's website at: 

www.HuntFishVA.com or call (804) 367-2569. 

Please allow 3 to 4 weeks for delivery. 



Don't miss our next special exhibit: 



Living 

1- OFF THE . 

L ANB^ 



Open June 4, 2011 
to January 14, 2012 



Presented by: 

NWTF 




r\ 



dek 



Virginia Muieurr: ^j 
NATURAL HISTORY 



21 starling Avenue • Martinsville, VA 24112 276-634.4141 
Visit 'w.vmnh nci for more information. 




Download the FREE DGIF Hunt Fish VA iPhone® App 
Available on the App Stores^ visit HuntFishVA.com/app 



Magazine subscription-related calls only 1-800-710-9369 ♦ Annual subscription for just $12.95 

All other calls to (804) 367-1000; (804) 367-1 278 HY 



Tills Holiday Season 

Qive The Qlft That Will Be ErUoyed 

All Year Long 



^^tt^^^"^«tt2MIA 




Virginia Wildlife Magazine 



For a limited time only you can give Virginia Wildlife as a gift 
to your family and friends for only $10.00 eachi. Thiat's a sav- 
ings of almost 80% off [he regular cover price! This special 
hioliday offer expires January 31 , 201 2. 

Simply send us thie full name and address of [he person 
or persons to whom you would like to send a subscription. 



All orders must mention code # U1 1C4 and be prepaid by 
check, payable to Treasurer of Virginia. Mail to Virginia 
Wildlife Magazine, P.O. Box 11104, Richmond, VA 23230- 
1 1 04. Please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery. 

Remember, a subscription to Virginia Wildlife makes a 
great gift that will be enjoyed all year long!